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air purifier for dorm room

Best Air Purifiers for a Dorm Room: Top Picks, Reviews & Guide

Starting college and shopping for an air purifier for your dorm room?

You’ve come to the right place!

One of the most exciting parts of joining college is setting up your own dorm room. Although these living arrangements are an excellent option for students looking for affordable housing near their classes, they’re also the reason behind certain health and cleanliness concerns.

Most dorm rooms are small, enclosed spaces that usually house 2-4 people. At the same time, this post-pandemic world has made it extremely important to keep indoor air as clean as possible to prevent the spread of airborne contaminants.

So, you should definitely add a small and pocket-friendly air purifier to your list of back-to-school essentials!

But how do you choose the best air purifier for a dorm room?

Keep reading to find out!


What’s In This Buying Guide

This guide includes detailed reviews of some of the best air purifiers for college dorm rooms available today.

It also provides you with a comprehensive buying guide that outlines the pros and cons of the appliance and the features you should consider before making a purchase, among other things.

Finally, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about dorm room air purifiers, so you don’t regret your decision. Let’s get started!


Best Air Purifiers for a Dorm Room

VEVA 8000 Elite Pro
  • VEVA 8000 Elite Pro

  • Most Compact
  • Filters
    HEPA filter, Activated Carbon filter

  • Coverage Area
    325 sq. ft.

  • Quiet/Sleep Mode
    Yes


  • -

SilverOnyx Air Purifier
  • SilverOnyx

  • Most Pocket-Friendly
  • Filters
    Mesh pre-filter, True H13 HEPA filter, Activated Carbon filter, UV Light, Ionizer

  • Coverage Area
    500 sq. ft.

  • Quiet/Sleep Mode
    No


  • 99.97%

Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier
  • Winix 5300-2

  • Quietest Air Purifier
  • Filters
    True HEPA filter, Activated Carbon filter, PlasmaWave technology

  • Coverage Area
    360 sq. ft.

  • Quiet/Sleep Mode
    Yes


  • 99.97%

Germ Guardian True HEPA
  • Germ Guardian AC5350BCA

  • Best for Allergies
  • Filters
    Pre-filter, True HEPA filter, Activated Charcoal filter, UV-C light

  • Coverage Area
    167 sq. ft.

  • Quiet/Sleep Mode
    Yes


  • 99.97%


1. Most Compact: VEVA 8000 Elite Pro

air purifier for dorm room

The VEVA 8000 Elite Pro uses HEPA technology to capture unwanted airborne particles and contaminants. Boasting 3 different airspeeds, the unit can cover up to 325 square feet with its Ultra Turbo setting.

Pros

  • Low filter replacement cost
  • Excellent filtration system
  • It runs right out of the box
  • Versatile design allows for both floor and tabletop installation
  • Easy to use
  • Small and lightweight

Cons

  • No automatic timer
  • Lacks a filter change indicator

Our Review

The VEVA 8000 Elite Pro comes with 4 activated carbon filters and one premium HEPA filter. The HEPA filter captures allergens and dust particles as small as 0.3 microns, protecting your dorm room from pollen and other PM2.5 particles.

Meanwhile, the activated carbon filters get rid of odors from cooking, dirty laundry, and more. The activated charcoal nano-technology on the filters further ensures fresher and cleaner air throughout your dorm room.

The VEVA model’s innovative design also eliminates the need for cutting, cleaning, or vacuuming its pre-filters. This extends the life and enhances the effectiveness of the main HEPA filter.

The sleek and elegant design further makes the VEVA 8000 Elite Pro perfect for homes, offices, and dorm rooms.

You can easily change the tower unit to a tabletop one by simply removing its base. This allows you to save space in your dorm room and enjoy the benefits of air purification right on your study desk at the same time.

The VEVA 8000 Elite Pro comes in a beautiful, black color, ensuring that it seamlessly fits into your dorm room no matter how you decorate it. It’s also easy to use and doesn’t feature an LCD, so you won’t have to worry about any bright lights disturbing your sleep.

Its 3-stage fan speeds range from Turbo to Ultra Quiet, further allowing you to choose a setting that best suits your needs. The unit is also ozone-free and does not use ions or UV, making it safe for you and your roommates.

The VEVA 8000 Elite Pro is ETL-certified and tested to the UL standard. It comes with an automatic safety shut-off feature as well, which turns off the unit when you remove the front panel, making it perfectly safe for cramped dorm rooms.

However, the unit does produce a bit of noise and might not be the best option for light sleepers. But you can easily use it during the day without being disturbed by the noise.

Specs

Filters: HEPA filter, Activated Carbon filter

Coverage area: 325 sq. ft.

Fan speed options: 3

Dimensions: 9 x 8 x 23 inches

Weight: 6.72 lbs.


2. Most Pocket-Friendly: SilverOnyx Air Purifier

air purifier for dorm room

Delivering an excellent performance in a lightweight, compact design, the SilverOnyx Air Purifier boasts a powerful 5-stage air purification system.

The unit traps larger particles like pet hair and filters ultra-fine contaminants, dust particles, and dorm room odors.

It’s also available at an affordable price, making it perfect for students looking for a mid-range model that can clean the smoke, germs, and dust from their rooms.

Pros

  • Accurate smart sensor
  • Very quiet operation
  • Reduces odors effectively
  • Easy to operate
  • Sleek and elegant design
  • Affordable filter replacements
  • Adjusts airflow automatically
  • Energy-efficient design

Cons

  • Ionizer produces and emits ozone
  • Included instructions are a bit poor

Our Review

The SilverOnyx Air Purifier boasts a 5-stage air filtration system that provides fresher, cleaner air and protects you from even the smallest dust particles. Its pre-filter traps larger airborne particles like pet hair, and its True HEPA H13 filter captures and eliminates 99.97% dust measuring 0.3 microns.

Its activated carbon filter further neutralizes odors, while its ionizer and UV light provide even fresher and cleaner air.

One of the best features of this SilverOnyx model is the 360-degree design of its internal filters. This cylindrical shape gives the unit 60% more surface area than models with flat filters.

It also enables the air purifier to remove harmful allergens, contaminants, and pollutants at a much faster rate, making it a more effective and efficient model overall.

The SilverOnyx Air Purifier features 5 variable fan speeds, so you can find the perfect balance between noise and air cleaning power. The model comes with a Change Filter Indicator as well.

Its timer also allows you to set the unit to run for 30 minutes or 24 hours before it shuts itself off, while its PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns) display informs you of your dorm room’s air quality. The PM2.5 sensor further adjusts the airflow automatically to provide the highest quality air.

This lightweight and compact air purifier boasts a coverage area of 500 square feet, making it an excellent choice for almost all dorm rooms at any college or university.

Finally, the SilverOnyx model is available in 3 different colors, so you can easily choose the one that best suits your style!

Specs

Filters: Mesh pre-filter, True H13 HEPA filter, Activated Carbon Filter, UV Light, Ionizer

Coverage area: 500 sq. ft.

Fan speed options: 5

Dimensions: 10.5 x 10.5 x 16.5 inches

Weight: 5.1 pounds

3.Quietest Air Purifier: Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier

air purifier for dorm room

An upgrade of the highly popular 5300 model, the Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier is perfect for almost every home environment.

Its 3-stage purification process readily captures dust, smoke, VOCs, pollen, mold spores, and odors from your dorm room.

Boasting a CADR rating of 360 square feet from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), this model is most suitable for medium to large kitchens, bedrooms, or living rooms.

Pros

  • Solid and durable build
  • PlasmaWave technology delivers a powerful performance
  • Affordable cost
  • Excellent clean air delivery rate
  • AOC helps extend HEPA filter life
  • Effectively eliminates unwanted particles
  • Captures 99.97% of airborne contaminants and allergens
  • LED light indicates indoor air quality

Cons

  • High filter replacement cost
  • Large size limits the number of places you can use it

Our Review

Most pocket-friendly air purifiers have poor-quality filters, but the Winix 5300-2 is one of the rare models that achieved the right balance.

The unit features a 3-stage air filtration system that consists of a True HEPA filter, Winix PlasmaWave technology, and an odor-eliminating carbon filter.

It’s True HEPA filter eliminates 99.97% of airborne contaminants, such as pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and other pollutants as small as 0.3 microns.

Its activated carbon filter eliminates VOCs and reduces odors from cooking and dirty laundry. It also helps extend the life of the True HEPA filter.

Winix’s PlasmaWave technology further works as a permanent filter and breaks down allergens, chemical vapors, odors, and other pollutants without producing any harmful ozone.

The Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier also comes with an LED light air quality indicator that changes its light according to the indoor air quality. Its built-in smart sensors measure and automatically adjust the fan speed as well.

Once this model senses a darkened room, it automatically turns on Sleep Mode for quiet, continuous, and energy-efficient operation. It also automatically switches back to Auto Mode when it detects light.

With a Filter Replacement Indicator, this Winix model is easy to use as well. It’s also CARB certified, Energy Star certified, CUL listed, and AHAM CADR certified, so you don’t have to worry about it being unsafe to use.

The 5300-2 produces only 28 decibels of noise during operation, which is impressive for any air purifier. If you’re planning on using the air purifier while you’re studying, then go right ahead, as you won’t be distracted or disturbed by the noise it makes.

However, the Winix 5300-2 has a few downsides. Dorm rooms are usually cramped spaces that usually involve shuffling things around to make more room for your belongings.

At a heavy 18 pounds, you won’t be able to move the air purifier easily, and you might just need to restrict it to one corner of the room.

Specs

Filters: True HEPA filter, Activated Carbon filter, PlasmaWave technology

Coverage area: 360 sq. ft.

Fan speed options: 4

Dimensions: 14.9 x 7.8 x 23.6 inches

Weight: 17 pounds


4. Best for Allergies: Germ Guardian AC5350BCA

air purifier for dorm room

The Germ Guardian AC5350BCA filters odors, reduces allergens and eliminates germs and viruses with its HEPA filter and optional UV-C light.

This model is an excellent combination of form and function that provides you with a powerful air cleaning performance.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Energy-efficient design
  • It comes with a 5-year warranty
  • Sleek and elegant design
  • 3-stage filtration system with UV-C light

Cons

  • No child lock feature
  • Lacks an air quality sensor

Our Review

The Germ Guardian AC5350BCA comes with a True HEPA filter that eliminates up to 99.97% of pollen, mold spores, pet dander, dust particles, and other allergens measuring 0.3 microns, making it perfect for students with extreme allergies.

Its UV-C light helps destroy airborne viruses like staph, rhinovirus, and influenza, while the Titanium Dioxide in the purifier helps reduce volatile organic compounds.

This Germ Guardian model’s pre-filter further captures pet hair, dust, and other large airborne particles and helps extend the life of the True HEPA filter. Its activated charcoal filter also eliminates unwanted odors from cooking fumes, smoke, and more.

The unit’s ultra-quiet sleep mode and programmable timer help ensure you get a good night’s sleep with fresher, cleaner air. This particular setting is also an excellent option for students who want to conserve energy by not using the unit round the clock.

For instance, you can program the air purifier to turn itself on a few hours before you return from your classes, so you can enjoy the advantages of clean air when you get back.

The control panel of the Germ Guardian AC5350BCA is located on the top. The digital controls are very easy to use and allow you to switch the UV-C light on and off, change the fan speed, and observe the UV bulb and filter replacement indicators.

This Germ Guardian model is also AHAM verified for its ability to remove dust, pollen, and tobacco smoke. It has a CADR rating of 114 for dust, 127 for pollen, and 108 for smoke. The unit comes with a 5-year limited warranty as well.

The AC5350BCA is long and slim, so you can easily place it in even the smallest dorm room without it getting in your roommates’ way. It also comes in 2 colors, so you can choose the one that best fits the décor of your room.

However, it’s better to avoid placing the air purifier against the wall or in a corner.

Since it expels air from the left side, you’ll have to keep it somewhere with 12 inches of unobstructed space on its left. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to place it in the middle of your dorm room, but you won’t be able to hide it either.

Finally, the Germ Guardian AC5350BCA has a coverage area of 167 square feet, making it ideal for small dorm rooms.

Specs

Filters: Pre-filter, True HEPA filter, Activated Charcoal Filter, UV-C light

Coverage area: 167 sq. ft.

Fan speed options: 5

Dimensions: 14.9 x 7.8 x 23.6 inches

Weight: 17 pounds


Air Purifiers for a Dorm Room: Buying Guide

Why Buy an Air Purifier for a Dorm Room?

basement air purifier

Most students are understandably worried about going back to their college campuses during a pandemic. Even before the coronavirus, many people considered college dorm rooms to be similar to Petri dishes.

This comparison is not even that far from the mark because of the shared bathrooms, enclosed spaces, and lack of daily cleaning and laundry.

In fact, a 2019 research report on 341 college campuses by the Environmental Protection Agency discovered high levels of nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and formaldehyde in college dorms and buildings.

However, if you buy an air purifier, you’ll be able to keep the air in your dorm room clean and get rid of all the bacteria and viruses.

With the average person spending more than 90% of their day indoors (thanks to COVID-19), these appliances are an excellent way to prevent pollutants and toxins from contaminating the air inside your dorm room.

Features to Consider: Air Purifiers for a Dorm Room

With so many different models available in the market, choosing the best air purifier for your dorm room can be a daunting task.

To save you the hassle of researching every single unit on the internet, we list and explain some of the most critical factors you should consider before finalizing your purchase:

Filter Type and Technology

There are 5 major air filter types and technologies that can improve the air quality in your dorm room. These include:

HEPA Filter

High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters are one of the most popular and efficient filters available today. It’s better to get a unit that has a “True HEPA” filter, as it can capture and eliminate 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, including most allergens, mold spores, bacteria, and airborne dust.

Activated Carbon Filter
air purifier large room

An activated carbon filter is the only kind of filter that can trap airborne odors, gases, chemicals, and other volatile organic compounds.

While a HEPA filter is unable to eliminate these substances, activated carbon filters are highly porous, enabling them to trap VOCs and odors, so they don’t disperse back into the air.

Air purifiers with activated carbon filters ensure fresher-smelling dorm rooms and fewer chemicals in the air. Since poor air quality can cause memory and concentration issues, a unit with an activated carbon filter is one of the best options for college students.

Ultraviolet (UV-C) Light

An ultraviolet light eliminates airborne viruses and bacteria as they pass through the purifier. It works with the safe UV spectrum of UV-C, so you don’t have to worry about the technology being unsafe or dangerous to your health.

You won’t be able to feel or see the air purifier’s UV-C light because it’s usually hidden behind a panel. However, it effectively sterilizes and cleans the air in a dorm room and protects you from the bacteria, germs, and viruses that make you sick.

Ionizer

An ionizer is a type of air purification technology that disperses negative ions in the air in order to clean it.

The negative ions latch onto the airborne allergens and dust particles, weighing them down. As these particles become too heavy to remain in the air, the HEPA filter captures them easily.

Thermodynamic Sterilizing System (TSS)

This air filtration technology uses extreme heat to eliminate airborne contaminants. It literally incinerates every particle that passes through the unit.

Price

The price of the air purifier and your budget are two of the most important factors that influence your decision. Make sure you decide your budget beforehand, so you don’t worry about spending too much.

Most air purifiers for college dorm rooms cost around $100 to $150, making them perfect for students who need an affordable and reliable appliance.

Cost of Operation

Using an air purifier goes beyond buying it, switching it on, and then forgetting about it. Most models require regular filter changes and frequent cleaning of their pre-filters and other cloth elements.

Some units even come with multiple filters that need frequent replacement. For example, activated carbon filters usually cost $50 a pop and need a replacement every 3 months.

It’s better to look for air purifiers with readily available and affordable replacement filters. It’s also advisable to choose a unit with a filter change reminder, so you don’t forget to replace the dirty filters.

Coverage Area

Every air purifier has a different coverage area. Some units are designed for small rooms measuring up to 100 square feet, while some are suitable for larger rooms measuring up to 650 square feet.

Before you finalize your purchase, make sure you check whether the air purifier has enough power to clean the air in your dorm room.

Weight

Air purifiers are fairly heavy appliances and can weigh around 20 pounds or more. If you plan to move the air purifier around your dorm room, make sure you choose one with a manageable weight. It’s also better to opt for models that have carrying handles or wheels.

Noise Levels

Since most dorm rooms house two to four people, choosing an air purifier with a quiet operation is better.

A noisy appliance is one of the quickest ways to get on each other’s nerves, especially if it’s not a joint purchase with your roommates!

Size

Air purifiers are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. But since dorm rooms are usually small spaces that house two or more people, it’s better to consider the unit’s dimensions before making a purchase.

The best air purifiers for dorm rooms are those that measure less than 12 inches in width.

Their compact and small size will enable you to place them on your desk or in the corner of your room without them taking up too much space.

Warranty

If you’re planning on using your air purifier for a long time, make sure you check its warranty to avoid issues in the future.

Before you finalize your decision, it’s advisable to get a clear idea about whether the air purifier’s electrical components and parts are covered under warranty.

Pros and Cons of Using Air Purifiers for Dorm Rooms

best large room air purifier

If you’re still unsure about investing in an air purifier, you can compare the advantages and disadvantages of using it before making your purchase.

In our opinion, the benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks, but make sure you go through this section yourself and then make your decision.

Pros

Minimize risk of spreading viruses

In this post-pandemic world, it’s better to be cautious about the air you breathe.

From your roommate’s sneeze to a warm breeze through an open window, there are numerous ways to fill your dorm room with contaminants and make it a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

Using an air purifier will protect you from the pathogens and allergens usually present in the air.

Eliminate pathogens and VOCs

Over the past several years, there have been complaints of mold growth in dorm rooms.

If your dorm room has mold, you might experience headaches, cognitive issues, respiratory problems, and other health issues.

Using an air purifier will help eliminate dust, allergens, and mold and significantly improve your quality of life.

Remove odors

An air purifier with an activated carbon filter can remove odors from your dorm room.

Whether there’s some undesirable leftover food or a pile of dirty laundry, this appliance can get rid of all the nasty smells and ensure cleaner and fresher air.

Improve focus

Since air purifiers improve indoor air quality, they help improve focus. In fact, research suggests that there’s a direct relation between indoor air quality and workplace productivity, with cleaner and fresher air resulting in increased productivity.

This improved focus can be great for students who need to study hard to complete their degrees.

Indoor air quality is also closely related to the quality of sleep. By purchasing an air purifier, you can enhance your sleep, leaving you with more energy for the demanding tasks waiting for you in your classes.

Cons

Noisy operation

While air purifiers are not very loud, you’ll still notice when they’re running. This can be quite annoying in a small dorm room and might make it difficult for you to fall asleep. So, make sure that both you and your roommate can handle white noise before making a purchase.

Need frequent cleaning

Your air purifier will stop working efficiently if you don’t clean it regularly. If you’re a very busy student and don’t have time to clean your device, then an air purifier might not be the best option for you.

Take up precious space

Some air purifiers are quite big and take up precious dorm space. If you value every square inch of space in your dorm room, you should not purchase a larger model and just use the space for more important things.

Emit ozone

Most ionizers, particularly older models, generate and emit ozone when they purify the air, exacerbating asthma. However, some companies state that their newer models don’t produce ozone or any other reactive oxygen species.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can air purifiers get rid of the stuffy room smell?

basement air purifier

Yes, air purifiers can help freshen stuffy rooms. The stuffy room smell usually comes from mold growth, and the right kind of air purifier can eliminate mold spores, resulting in cleaner, less stale air for you to breathe in.

Can I use an air purifier in my dorm room?

Almost all colleges allow you to use air purifiers in your dorm room. In fact, some colleges even encourage students to get these appliances, as they clean the air inside your dorm room, making them beneficial for you, your roommates, and your college campus as a whole.

However, it’s still best to check with your college guidelines.

Which air purifier should I get for my dorm room?

The answer to this question depends entirely on your preference. However, it’s still better to look for a compact, affordable model, so you don’t have to worry about spending too much money on a unit that won’t even fit in your dorm room.

Can I run my air purifier all day?

Air pollution is an ongoing and pervasive problem, so it’s better to leave your air purifier on throughout the entire day.

There are no drawbacks to running your appliance all the time, and if you change the filter on time, it will be able to reduce pollutants and contaminants in your dorm room quite significantly.


Final Verdict: What is the best air purifier for a dorm room sold today?

With such a wide range of models available today, choosing the best air purifier for college dorm rooms is next to impossible.

But if you want something compact and highly effective, you should opt for the VEVA 8000 Elite Pro, and if you want an affordable air purifier, then the SilverOnyx Air Purifier is your best bet.

The Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier is perfect for light sleepers, while the Germ Guardian AC5350BCA Air Purifier is the best option for people suffering from extreme allergies.

However, make sure you go through the reviews of all the models mentioned earlier to find the air purifier that will best fit your college lifestyle.

About the Author Tom Hanson

I’ve worked as an HVAC tech in Phoenix, AZ for the past 10 years. I created CoolAndPortable.com to help home owners select the right portable air conditioner, cooler or air purifier for their needs & budget in just a few minutes.

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